In 2012, we embarked on our most iconic journey yet. Following years of professional experience and extensive analysis of human behaviour, we arrived at a simple, universal truth: the world needs more sleep.
In today’s working environment, lack of sleep has become almost chronic, and it has serious consequences on our physical and emotional wellbeing. We knew there had to be a healthier and more effective solution than excess caffeine consumption. Our motivation was to uncover this solution by designing a product that profoundly improved people’s personal and professional lives on a global scale.
OSTRICHPILLOW is a revolutionary brand of napping products, created to help people rest whenever and wherever they please. Since its launch, our products have achieved remarkable international success, gaining global recognition from top media outlets including the Financial Times, CNN and Wired.
The design has been celebrated in industry hotspots like the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and Tokyo Designers Week. There has also been massive consumer interest in our brand, with hundreds of thousands of people worldwide in possession of an OSTRICHPILLOW.
Sleep deprivation and its impact on employee performance
As specialists in applied workspace design thinking, we are experts in finding a balance between energetic environments that maximise efficiency and relaxing workplace areas. Our research revealed lack of sleep as a consistent cause of high stress and low productivity in the different professional landscapes we have been exposed to.
The pressures of the modern working world leave little room for a good night’s sleep. Coffee, sugar and energy drinks have become widely accepted as a quick fix for tired, unmotivated employees. This quick fix solution not only poses significant health risks, but it completely fails to adequately address the root cause of sleep deprivation.
A groundbreaking discovery
While conceptualising OSTRICHPILLOW, we had an internal program in operation that encouraged our team to experiment, innovate, pursue design thinking and search for agile processes. We created new products in two-week cycles, an exercise that prepared us for the realities of prototype creation and testing.
Following the inspiration derived from our professional expertise and extensive research on sleep deprivation in the workplace, we developed the very first prototype of the OSTRICHPILLOW Original. Once the prototype was finalised, we published photos of our new product on our website. In just a few hours, we received over 250 emails from people all over the world looking to purchase an OSTRICHPILLOW.
Upon seeing the remarkable interest in this design, it became clear to us that the need to take better naps was widely present among consumers. People were excited at the prospect of taking power naps at work and on the go, and our creation would allow them maximum comfort, no matter where they were.
Ideation & Design
Dreams happen anywhere
For unapologetic explorers searching for their own path, OSTRICHPILLOW is the feel-good brand with an outspoken and quirky personality that matches their quest for freedom through the creation of personal dreaming spaces.
Created in 2012 by Studio Banana founders Key Kawamura and Ali Ganjavian, the OSTRICHPILLOW Original was the first of a series of designs at our studio to define a new market category: powernapping products.
As the first member of the OSTRICHPILLOW family, Original is a revolutionary napping product developed to give us an opportunity to power up with a quick nap at work. The whimsical design, while anything but conventional, smartly challenged social norms and managed to reclaim something as natural to us as sleep, along with the many health benefits that come with it.
With OSTRICHPILLOW Original the #NappingRevolution was born, and scores of international media outlets, retailers and keen nappers from around the world reached out in enthusiastic support of our vision.
Where Original was designed to be used in study and work contexts, Light was conceived as an opportunity for deep sleep on the go.
Designed mainly for commuters and travellers, Light is the multifunctional member of the OSTRICHPILLOW family. It is fully adjustable, reversible and portable making it ideal for a comfortable nap on an airplane, train, bus, or even at home. OSTRICHPILLOW Light was our first step into the world of travel comfort, and it gained considerable interest from prestigious sales points like the MoMa NY store, where an exclusive edition is available for purchase.
On our search for new, innovative napping designs, we arrived at the smallest member of the OSTRICHPILLOW family with Mini. Placed on your hand or arm, Mini is perfect for taking a power nap at your desk. In spite of its minimalist look, OSTRICHPILLOW Mini offers users luxurious comfort. This product was hugely successful at the exclusive Maison&Objet 2015 fair, where our stand landed the Innovative Design Award.
Listening to the voice of our dreamers, we discovered that in their daily commuting they would love an OSTRICHPILLOW as light-blocking as Original, as versatile as Light, as portable as Go and -why not?- with the touch of design of Mini. Guided by this consumer insight, the design team has ideated an eye pillow to break loose from the urging pressures of modern life. Its shape and softness offer total blackout and comfort, and its boundless design is adaptable to all head shapes and sizes. However, what makes OSTRICHPILLOW Loop even more special is “how” it has been created: it is the first product in being co-designed together with end-users during a crowdfunding campaign. By the community, for the community.
Venturing further into the world of travel comfort, we designed Go, reinventing travel pillows and offering an enhanced in-transit napping experience. Unlike other neck pillows on the market, Go provides users with maximum comfort and support. Its ergonomic, intelligent design and memory foam core allow a volume reduction to 60% of its original size when rolled up. OSTRICHPILLOW Go has helped us consolidate our presence in the travel and lifestyle industry, where its elegant, modern look and feel has resonated with consumers.
The OSTRICHPILLOW brand
We imagined OSTRICHPILLOW as more than a brand. From the early stages, we saw OSTRICHPILLOW as a family of playful, optimistic products that would promote personal and professional wellbeing. With a fresh and authentic design, our products are improving people’s lives by providing a real solution to widespread sleep deprivation.
Inviting users to take part in a codesign conversation
At Studio Banana, we see crowdfunding as more than a platform to find investors. For us, this is the best way to gauge current interest in a given product and explore its potential on a global scale. It also allows for the unique opportunity to engage in a codesign conversation with the final user.
In the case of the OSTRICHPILLOW family, Kickstarter gave us invaluable insights into the existing market conditions in order to evaluate the overall demand. From the introduction of Original in 2012 to Go (supported by more than 4,500 backers), this platform has been a major part of our process.
An end-to-end product design process
Our commitment to quality is present in everything we do at our studio. From product design to brand creation, our versatile in-house team of professionals consistently demonstrates a meticulous attention to detail. As part of our extensive end-to-end creative process, we guided OSTRICHPILLOW through the various stages of production, including strategic sourcing, production management and quality control.
Reaching out to the global online market
As part of the commercial efforts associated to OSTRICHPILLOW we created an online store, offering our products to the international market through global region-specific e-shops. In addition to creating a sleek, modern look and feel, our digital design team was confronted with the challenge of consolidating the OSTRICHPILLOW brand identity as ambitious, game-changing and international.
Our unique approach to e-commerce on a global scale was supported by our digital marketing strategy and backend management, which prioritised the overall user experience. In addition, through agreements with third-party e-commerce platforms, OSTRICHPILLOW products are now available to a vast international audience.
Available across 100 sales points
The success of OSTRICHPILLOW is reflected in its international reception. Our products can be found around the world, and are available for purchase at 100 well-known sales points including MoMA Stores, The Conran Shop, The Loft Stores, Le Bon Marché, The Grommet, Kapok, Merci, Top Drawer, Habitat and Colette.
In order to position OSTRICHPILLOW in the market we developed an ingenious and multi-layered communication strategy with regular campaigns to support the crowdfunding launches of the different OSTRICHPILLOW models. Once each new product reaches the market, we continue to identify techniques to boost visibility and drive traffic to our sales platforms.
Our strategy was based on a gentle sense of humour, evident from the naming of the product family. This creative decision, together with the quirky design of the products, gave us the ability to inspire the viral buzz that made OSTRICHPILLOW a trending topic worldwide. Our products’ global exposure was further propelled by top media outlets, lifestyle television networks and popular talk shows.
“Welcome to the Napping Revolution” was a tagline we created to assert our identity to the world. Our #DreamWithMe campaign quickly caught on across social media networks, building a far-reaching community of fans and supporters that contributed to a wave of user-generated content.
A transversal approach to product design and creation
OSTRICHPILLOW is the result of a transversal, creative approach to product creation. Our in-house teams of product and graphic designers, storytellers, audiovisual experts and brand and strategy professionals came together to conceive a singular, holistic solution to a clearly identified problem. We created a product family that, in addition to promoting a quality user experience, supports a healthy lifestyle and actively reduces the negative effects of sleep deprivation in the modern workplace.
OSTRICHPILLOW’s media and commercial success is proof of a smart creative strategy, put into action by our team with great passion and joy.